DEVOTIONS

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Today’s Truth

But have you not heard? I decided this long ago. Long ago I planned it, and now I am making it happen (Isaiah 37:26a NLT).


 


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My daughter told me she was tired of people telling her to trust God. She had begged Him to make her hair grow back after her alopecia diagnosis. Despite years of prayers, though, she remained completely bald with no eyelashes or eyebrows. She knew all the Sunday School answers about God’s love and power. But her real-life circumstances caused her to question why a God who loved her and had the power to heal her… didn’t. She wondered if the Lord was unable or unwilling. Your situation may vary greatly from my daughter’s, but perhaps you can recall a season in your life when you struggled to trust God’s timing.


When God doesn’t act quickly enough for us,

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Today’s Truth

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18–19a NIV emphasis added).


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God speaks to me in the comics. I know. That’s weird. But He does.


The Pickles comic strip features an older couple named Earl and Opal Pickles. One day Earl and Opal were sitting on a porch swing and the following conversation ensued.


Frame one: Pearl, “Did you know the DNA of humans and chimpanzees is 98 percent the same?”


Frame two: Earl, “I know it but I don’t believe it.”


Frame three: Pearl, “You know it, but you don’t believe it?”


Frame four: Earl, “Yes, “I don’t believe everything I know.”


And there you have it! In the wise words of Earl Pickles, our problem isn’t that we don’t know the truth, but it’s that we don’t really believe everything we know. We

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Today’s Truth

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father (John 14:13 NIV).


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I was on my way home when my cell phone rang.


“Hi, Mom. It’s Kennedy. Where are you?”


“Hey, baby! I’ll be home in just a few minutes. What’s up?”


“Well, I wanted to see if you and I could go shopping for a new bathing suit this afternoon, and— don’t say no —I’d like to get a feather in my hair. Can we, Mom?”


Don’t say no? Really? I’m the parent. You’re the child. C’mon girl.


“Honey, you’re free to tell me if you want something, but you don’t get to tell me what I can and can’t say no to. I’m pulling into the neighborhood and will see you in a minute.”


Later, as I considered the way my daughter positioned her

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Today’s Truth

But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat (Nehemiah 4:9 NIV).


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Tossing and turning, I failed to sleep. Counting sheep was far from working. I felt overwhelmed by the news of my dad’s hospital admission and the following details, especially in the dark. Worry and fear threatened to create an avalanche of thoughts with destructive potential.


Thankfully, it’s possible to pivot. Instead of allowing the what-ifs and maybe’s to take over and wreak havoc. I pressed pause and whispered to my heart, “Stop, Rachel. Remember God is in control.”


What a critical split-second decision this was! Pressing pause on the tempting thoughts the enemy throws our way during a crisis or tragedy is essential for two reasons. It creates an interruption in negativity and prepares the way for prayer. I learned

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Today’s Truth

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV).


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Three ministers were talking about prayer and the most effective positions for prayer. As they were talking, a telephone repairman worked silently in the background.


One minister shared that he felt the key to powerful prayer was all in the hands. “I always hold my hands together and point them upward as a sign of worship,” he explained.


The second minister suggested that real prayer should always be conducted on the knees.


The third minister shook his head and said, “I’m afraid you both have it wrong. The only position worth its salt is to pray while stretched out flat on your face.”


As the three ministers solemnly contemplated the wisdom they had shared, the phone man put down his tools, approached

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Today’s Truth

Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before (1 Thessalonians 4:11 NLT).

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In my early twenties, I sat in a counselor’s office as she drew a horizontal line across her paper. Below it, she added arrows reaching toward the line but never quite touching it. She said the horizontal line represented my expectations of myself and the arrows my actual efforts—what I could realistically do as a human.


She explained that much of my anxiety came from the gap between what I expected of myself and reality. Until I stopped putting so much pressure on myself, I would continue to experience anxiety. I wish I could say I walked out of her office and applied her wisdom right away. But it took many more years, as well as a bout of

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Today’s Truth

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3 NIV).

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I’ll be honest, I’m not a sports fan. I know which way a ball is supposed to go, but that’s about it. My husband, on the other hand, loves the games. If I’m sitting with him while he’s watching one, I want to know about the players’ families, where they’re from, and other nonsensical information that has nothing to do with the game. I’m what some might call a distraction!


Occasionally, Steve shares something with me from Sports Illustrated that he thinks might be of interest…what he calls a human-interest story. The story of Matthew Joseph White was one of them.


He signed with the Cleveland Indians in 1998, the Boston Red Sox in 2002, and the Colorado Rockies in

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Today’s Truth

The people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them (Jonah 3:5 ESV).

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I knew that sound too well. It had etched its way into my mind the first time I heard it and now it was unmistakable.


A few years ago, doctors diagnosed my daughter with asthma. From that moment forward, any warning of the asthma-induced cough sent me into action. I grabbed medicine, called doctors and asked her to stop any strenuous activity. I knew her life depended on it.


Like me with my daughter, we’re usually quick to respond to physical warnings. When we have a fever we call a doctor. When we have a headache we take medicine. We go for yearly check-ups and do at-home examinations.


Why don’t we treat our spiritual health the same way?


Today’s Truth details

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Today’s Truth

Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom (Psalm 90:12, NLT).

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I once read an African proverb, “Lord Jesus, make my heart sit down.” The first time I read those words, I immediately thought of my husband who often says, “Honey, it really is okay for you to sit down and rest.” I tend to work myself into what my mama called a “tizzy.”


I have back problems … but sometimes pride myself on how much pain I can handle … instead of doing what I need to do. Rest.


I struggle with clinical depression every single day … but have been known to ignore the warning signs that it is time for me to stop, be still, and rest.


I have to admit I struggle with the idea of rest. For

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Today’s Truth

Come quickly to help me, O Lord my savior (Psalm 38:22 NLT).

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I was 32, a young mama, and battling breast cancer. The news had come at an already-hard time. My husband worked long hours each week, trying to keep our business afloat. When he paid the business expenses each month, there was just a small amount left to pay ourselves. The pressure often made me feel like I was near to drowning, but we told no one about our financial battle.


Christmas was weeks away. Our children had school expenses. I was going through radiation and chemotherapy, and medical bills were piling up. One day as I walked to the mailbox, I dreaded what I knew would be inside. Bills, bills, and more bills.


But this day was different. Tucked among

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8